Any excuse to eat cheese is fine by me. I love the variety of cheese that’s available in Britain (and from across the World) and some cheeses are more suited to certain applications than others. At least I think so. For example I prefer mozzarella when it’s been cooked and has those little brown spots on the top (but I absolutely love a caprese salad!) and I would rather have Camembert cooked than on a cheese board. The Cheese Market got in touch to see if I would like to try out one of their cheese boxes; like I said, any excuse.
I’ve tried out a few different recipe boxes now and I really enjoy sampling new ones; I like the variety and diversity of recipes and it gives me an opportunity to cook things that I haven’t tried before. The most recent box to arrive in my kitchen was one from Deli at Home. The three recipes I chose to try were: Chicken Bhuna Gosht, Tonkatsu Pork and Mushroom Stroganoff.
I really liked that all the ingredients were sent in individual paper bags (for the ambient ones) and plastic bags (for chilled) that I could just put straight in the fridge when it arrived. It made it really easy to grab the two bags and get cooking. It was also a nice touch that they sent a box of pistachio biscuits with the box as a little sweet treat after the meal.
When I got the box I was really impressed with how it was all packaged up. The chilled ingredients were still very cold, the brown paper bags were a nice touch and the handwritten labels all made it feel like a luxury box. The handy thing about the brown bags is that all the ingredients for each recipe are in each bag so when you’re ready to cook you grab a bag and go rather than scrabbling round the fridge and cupboards finding the ingredients. The first recipe I tried was Chicken with Aubergine Caponata and Polenta. I’ve never made polenta or caponata so was interested in trying this. The chicken drumsticks were absolutely huge so there was plenty of it to go round, as you can see my plate wasn’t quite big enough to hold it all comfortably. The recipe instructions were easy to follow and the meal was cooked within the 30-40 minute time guidelines. I really liked the caponata and would make it again when I had an aubergine, the chicken was full of flavour but I wasn’t that keen on the polenta (no fault of the polenta, it’s a personal texture thing). The other recipe was Paneer Curry with Carrot and Kohlrabi Salad and Rice. This recipe starts with blending coriander and parsley together which I actually found quite hard to do. I used an immersion blender like the chap in the photo but I think using a food processor would be much easier! The smell of the fresh ingredients once blended was really nice. I liked that this came with a five rice mix and I found it cooked really well. The paneer was easy to cook too; I’ve had some before that didn’t fry as well. This meal was again quite large and looked very appetising once cooked. I didn’t have a lot of the kohlrabi salad, for me it was one thing too many, but it added a good crunch to the meal. The ingredients that came in the box were of a very high quality, the kind of ingredients that I would try to buy myself and of all the boxes I’ve tried to far Marleyspoon’s seemed to generate the least amount of packaging and rubbish. This may sound a bit funny but I thought the portion sizes were too large; both of the recipes could easily have fed three and with a bit more rice or polenta could have even fed four. This is the most expensive box that I have tried at £36 for four meals (two meals for two) including delivery. Currently you do get £10 off your first order making it £26. Although it’s expensive I think that’s down to the quality of ingredients and it does have a very high end, luxury feel to it.
To see how this recipe box compares to the others, take a look at my Recipe Box Comparison post here.Thank you to Marleyspoon for the recipe box. All opinions expressed are my own.
Fairtrade Fortnight is running from 23rd Feb to 8th March this year and the theme for this year’s fortnight is: choose products that change lives. For me, the most important thing about choosing a fair trade product is knowing that I am making a difference to someone by making that choice. I don’t know about you but the most common fair trade food I see available is: bananas, sugar, coffee and chocolate.
For some reason I didn’t even think about tea being fair trade even though I have been buying Clipper tea for a while and it has the fair trade logo on and everything! Last year I made some Fairtrade shortbread to use as many fair ingredients as possible and I wanted to raise awareness of Fairtrade Fortnight again this year because as the film here shows, it is certainly worthwhile.
Every year I have at least one person say something like, “Oi, you like food, what do I get >insert friend/relative/colleague’s name here< for Christmas? They like food too”. Firstly I am never likely to respond to an, “Oi”, but talk about the impossible question. How do I know that they do or don’t like blue cheese, a selection of miniature spirits, dark chocolate or that special coffee that comes out of a kopi luwak? So for all of you who have someone even mildly interested in food to buy for, here are some Christmas food gift ideas. The list may get a little longer if I try anything from now on that I think is worthy of including.
I like the idea of a recipe box. Coming home to find all your meals ready weighed and ready to cook, no need to go to the shops and no wandering round the kitchen wondering what you’re going to cook that evening. I have been so busy recently that my recent recipe box from Gouso couldn’t have come at a better time! I was sent a box containing ingredients to make three meals for two people: Macaroni Cheese, Asian Pork with Rice and Pak Choi and Sweet Tahini Chicken.
We tried the Macaroni Cheese first. It was made with Tallegio which made a nice change and there was added bacon for flavour and tomatoes for freshness. It was easy to make (you did need to make sure you had butter, milk and flour to make the sauce) and I really enjoyed it.
There have been a few new products in the kitchen recently: Rachel’s Divine Pots and a Degustabox box. The Rachel’s Dessert Pots are relatively new to the market and the whole point of a Degustabox is to bring you a box of the latest food products and both made welcome additions to my kitchen. I certainly wasn’t short of snacks for a while.
I really like the yoghurts that I’ve tried from Rachel’s in the past so I was looking forward to trying their new Divine Pots. I thought they were similar to Gu in principle (you eat them straight from the fridge) but they are organic. I liked that they came in little glass pots; a bit more special than plastic! I tried the chocolate and the vanilla; they were both good but the chocolate was my favourite as I liked the slight bitterness from the chocolate.
I was sent What to Bake and How to Bake It to review and I was really looking forward to having a flick through the pages to see what to bake. I knew it would be a fab book from the quick look I initially had but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be such the joy that it was. The quirky cover makes it stand out amongst the other books on my shelves and I liked the colours and illustrations. There are two key things I noticed about the book which I love: firstly, Jane provides pictures right at the start showing you exactly what butter and sugar look like when perfectly creamed (and if they’re over beaten) amongst other techniques, secondly, she doesn’t assume you have a microwave. I don’t have a microwave and it’s amazing how many cookery books assume you have one (I think I’m in the minority but still!). The book is published by Phaidon and they kindly said I could publish one of the recipes so I tried my hand at the Buttermilk Pound Cake.
It may be slightly gloomier outside than we’ve become accustomed to over the last few months but that doesn’t mean BBQ season is over. At least not as far as I’m concerned! There’s not much weather that will stop my family from cooking alfresco; indeed one memorable snowy day saw us making gravy outside as the roasting tray was too big for the hob. Stokes sent me some yummy sounding products to try which lend themselves to a BBQ really well: Ketchup, Bloody Mary Ketchup and BBQ Sauce. So it was time (but certainly not the last time this year) to fire up the coals and get cooking.
Recipe from Västerbottensost cheese as part of their ‘Swedish summer to remember’.
You will need (for two):
- 350g minced venison (or beef)
- 1 rasher fried bacon, chopped
- 1 tsp crushed juniper berries
- Salt and pepper
- Västerbottensost cheese, grated
- Buns of your choice and salad and condiments to serve
Put the venison mince into a bowl and add the chopped bacon, juniper berries and salt and pepper.
Give everything a really good mix then form into four burger shapes (I made quite small ones).
Heat a pan to high and add a little oil to the pan. Fry the burgers until lovely and brown on the outside and cooked through. For the last few minutes of cooking add the grated Västerbottensost and allow to melt.